YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts

Aug 2006

VOL XIV, Issue 8, Number 161

Editor: Klaus J. Gerken

Production Editor: Heather Ferguson

European Editor: Moshe Benarroch

Contributing Editors: Michael Collings; Jack R. Wesdorp; Oswald Le Winter

Previous Associate Editors: Igal Koshevoy; Pedro Sena

ISSN 1480-6401



   Donna Bamford
      Chartres                                                                                     Donna Bamford
      The Garden is Full of Butterflies Today
      The Glitter of the Garret
      La Vie en Rose


   David Fraser
      The Recycling Man
      One Lady Lost
      Night Tracks

   C.E. Chaffin
      The Deprivathon 

   Dimitris P. Kraniotis 
      Fictitious line
      The end
      Rules and visions  
      One-word garments
      What I ask
      The "don’ts" and "zeros" 

   Ernest Williamson 
      What of the Cedar Trees
      The Importance of Liquid Rainbows
      The Jazz of Old Wine
      Empty Cup

   Graham Tiler

   Jim Benz 
      There is a chair
      Ignis Fatuum

      Storella: "Sticks and Mighty Stones"

   Lynn Strongin

      1. Ambulance
      2. The valley of the shadow
      3. Duvet
      4. Shuttered from Schoolroom & Street
      5. I saw the whole world in the rearview window
      6. ". . .a fine November morning, and the close soon" 

   Melanie Simms
      Good Fortune
      The Daes-Eage


Donna Bamford


We went on a jaunt
To Chartres one day
An American friend and I
I’d say it was worth the while
The structure itself, 
Made all the more beautiful
By confetti-like stains
Mottled and white
Like icing sugar
But the rose window
And a bird in flight behind it
In the sunlight
           An epiphany of rapture

Ibiza ~~~~~ Ibiza is a fine place.- was when I was there one windy March full of Germans and Brits. a nude beach where we went nude just for the fun of it - I with my camera in hand taking pictures of a green bottle and four oranges lapping against the grey-beige beach in the pristine turquoise water too cold to swim really but we took shelter from the wind behind a sand dune and there pretended to sunbathe and all around the fields aflame with wild flowers scarlet poppy and little lemon ones and lavender at night we would eat in our favourite Argentian restaurant mainly because of the dessert some sumptuous caramel concoction, heavenly my companion bought me turquoise earrings and then we ate several pieces of cake at a bakery by the placid harbour the next day To Formentera and there a little paradise but I must getting to Rome a ferry from Ibiza to Barcelona the Mediterranean indigo now, sparking like fresh-cut diamond so I enjoyed my little Spanish holiday sun, wind, and Latin passion
The Garden is Full of Butterflies Today ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The garden is full of butterflies today flitting among the flocks and cosmos, a Christian symbol I like to see them it is a good day and when the balloons go up it is a perfect day. I liked the May garden best the tulips and the cherry tree July is good though too colourful with the magenta bee balm and my peach verbascum, so delicate and fragile like fairies’ wings Not too hot this July Yet sometimes in August the heat comes as it has been it has been just right to attract the muses
The Glitter of the Garret ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I had a garret once in the Latin Quarter a chambre de bonne to be correct right in the heart of the Quartier Latin I did not know my good fortune then or I would have written reams and reams as it was I read Rimbaud and Hemingway wrote long descriptive letters some of which I still have Oh I envy me those days when I was young in Paris for somewhere in my glittering dreams there had been the glitter of the garret when I was young and full of rose-coloured dreams
La Vie en Rose ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ At Place de la Bastille, the marina, on a sailboat, like Anais Nin, I am aboard my houseboat I shall have duck a l'orange for dinner The spirit of Paris is like a coquette, seductive, beautiful aware of her beauty, yet charming stylish and gay and witty, The spirit of Rome Is like a voluptuous older woman with many lovers, young and old she is a mistress and a mother a doyenne, the spirit of Florence is masculine, an artist, a sculptor, an architect, and they are all holy all the cities and towns and villages of Europe, in my eye through rose-coloured lenses and one day I shall shuffle off this puritanical soil and finally go home to where my heart lies

David Fraser

The Recycling Man

I drop a palm full of garbage
into the recycling bin, early
morning summer mist
drifting across the RV camp.
A guy with his winter-beater van
is going through the trash.
I say, "How ya doin'?"
He looks up, no words.
I'm only one step removed myself
from homeless, camping
he looks up either figuring
a response ain't going to earn
him anything or he now sees
himself as invisible, untouchable
or maybe he heard me say,
"What ya doin'?"
suspicion, paranoia,
be silent like a rabbit
in the headlights, heart
beating faster
or maybe it's just him thinking
"I've been doing this so long,
I really, really don't give a fuck."

One Lady Lost ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Atlantis, Reno From this lost place of paradise she rises from the lush carpet sea foam from the wave, her earth a jaded, consumptive shore of gluttony. She hears the siren's call, deposited from the shuttle bus, the ferry to this neon underworld of flashing lights; dressed out of season and indoors, fur hat, earflaps, flightless wings, heavy boots, red wool, arms too long sweater scuffed, purse gaping wide, cradled in an arm so out of step with the click of poker chips, the jingle of the coins streaming from the slots, the stuffing buffet bellies dribbling mouths, bloating in this seedy paradise of excess pain. She wanders up and down the aisles, her winter gear as shocking as the bruises on her face, the lesions locked within her heart.
Impressions ~~~~~~~~~~~ Higher up from Thetis Lake where stark hydro towers loop wire across the meadow cleared there are places where deer have slept flattened dried thin stalks of grass among the Garry Oak recovering from the slash, these round sensuous curves of grass warm body impressions curled sleeping in the rain in summer heat are where lovers lie and love where fusion's force is healing up the scars.
Impermanence ~~~~~~~~~~~~ I am sunshine, deep heat, rich rays warming up my skin. I am this mass of photons floating by, caught for a winking moment from beneath a cloud. I am these parts of change, nostril hairs that grow, bristle on my face, chipped nails capturing black grit while weeding. I am the impermanence of thought, the ever changing flow of water through my pipes, this bag of chemicals, I am this grasping creature gone passionate on what I love who finds this love, these evanescent loves, so fleeting, so like the raindrops lost somewhere deep within the pond.
Night Tracks ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Long after slipping beneath the waves of sleep the ice steps to the cabin filling up with snow, the night tracks come, curiosity sensing heat escaping through the crack beneath the door. In the morning light pink and slanting through the trees the feathered fanning lines of Steller's Jay, its feet the prints written on the snow, the indentations of the snowshoe hare down the ice steps along the deck or smaller feet of tiny moles who scurry on the surface and dig below. All this visiting at night while I fall into that other time of leaving footprints just as real.
C.E. Chaffin The Deprivathon ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (An account of quitting smoking) I Nothing satiates the body like tobacco gas, stuffing each bronchiole until alveoli collapse. I want to quit, I want to quit but I can't give up my cigarette. Without tobacco my chest is an abandoned altar, my lungs empty gloves. I'm astonished by the emptiness. II How can I wax oracular about a deadly habit? Shall I say, "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by white voodoo missiles from the military industrial suicidal tobacco coven, Red Man's revenge funded by oil-wealthy Oklahoma Indians, Saw the blue smoke climb the undefended caves of their nostrils like mutated kudzu planting a Manitou deep in their unsuspecting ribs To one day metastasize and waste their brains for the prize of a green oxygen tank and a wheelchair? O Cancer! O Emphysema! O Stroke! O Coronary! O insidious degenerative enzymes from secret hybrid leaves developed for mass destruction! O refreshing Salems in a waterfall among the green ferns! O perfect models with khaki slacks and sweaters tied around their necks sailing off Martha's Vineyard, liberated by Newports! O Marlboro man who never talks but rides by purple mountains and orange sunsets in his fleece-lined suede jacket! O Virginia Slims who keep that weight off for a woman who is only a clothes rack for designers! O be happy, go Lucky, Winston tastes good, the pause that refreshes, smooth, smooth, smooth as polished agate. But I'm not starving hysterical naked only addicted to inhaled nicotine that jolts the brain in seven seconds, instantaneous hydrogen jukebox pleasure loop! III Mornings are made worse by smoking too much while drinking the night before, which temporarily dulls the pain of inhalation. You wake up feeling like a crematorium, still have to have that morning rush while the coffeemaker burbles and the refrigerator hums. I can't ignore the pleading quality of machines— a whir, a whine, as if a wish for petting, as if they sympathized somehow with the loss of choice that defines addiction because they have no choice at all. I see the damage of this nefarious habit in finely furrowed faces, blue-gray with sunken cheeks. faces that purse their lips to exhale, called the "blue bloaters" of emphysema. I see the damage in the barrel-chested wheezers who hyperventilate to compensate, named the "pink puffers" of chronic bronchitis. Yet these don't terrify us like the crab, the black crab of cancer. Lung cancer patients stink. No one wants to play with them on the field or at the rink, no one wants to stay with them. Because cancer is possession by an alien-- cells gone native, cells too dumb to know they are destroying their host, moles burrowing deep, scratching at the pulmonary tree with tiny claws breaching ligands and membranes in the darkness of bronchial tunnels. IV Depression and loss look much the same along life's hedgerow, still, differ as hawthorn from holly, as grape from pear. Loss is a coin tossed down a well until you hear the plunk of water and weep; in depression you never hear the coin drop. Nicotine, like Benzedrine, has antidepressant properties. Deprived, the mind shudders like an old engine. Who will pull this train? I think I can, I think I can, desiring this man's art and that man's scope the sea has jaws and a gray-green coat. what hangs from the jaws is pulverized to pebbles until the shingle rattles with every beat of shore break. Sans nicotine the disconnection is extreme, the stoppage, hesitation, grappling for numbers, addresses, details-- How I mourn the vanished power of tobacco's reign! V My parents smoked, it was not unpleasant. It was present at Christmas with the holly wreath and the brown couch with the little nubs from which my mother smoked and read us Hiawatha between puffs. Mom smoked when I was a fetus. Bad, bad mother! Mom withheld her nipples from me. Mean, mean mother! She tried to nurse my older brother but failed. Weak, weak mother! At birth I knew what she knew: There was a substitute. VI I saw the spirit of fire, Tobaccohontas in her coronet of coals dancing in a leaf skirt of golden brown, her incendiary thighs burning burning burning Before her only God breathed fire. Afterwards came dragons, venomous snakes and toads. Finally man's penis swelled and woman's labia grew bloody-purple, pink and wet. I heard Tobaccohontas speak: "I burn for you, Brave. Do not forget your love. Cleave me with your tomahawk, undo the seam so lightly stitched by nature or my own nails will ream it, drive your spear into the ravenous slit beneath the golden curls of my mons, pound me as a bear ruts a sow in a ditch littered with acorns and salmon bones. My mouths have swallowed the seed of many warriors, come." Ah, Tobaccohontas, I once fingered your moist fragrance in blue pouches of Drum tobacco. Your scent still calls to me from the tent of the elders with their pipe of bone and feathers but moderation is beyond me. I must devour and be devoured. Hear me now: My lava grows hard in your ocean. Your undersea cleft shapes me. My tip breaks off like a coal in your wet purse. I shudder, deflate and die. You are the siren of my death. I stub you out in ashtrays as if they were vampire coffins through which to pound my filter. Now I can only inhale the memory of your forbidden pleasure and cast its usage toward some future beyond obsession. Forgive me Princess; you were the best. VII Withdrawal still twists me on its spit. I suck my toothbrush in a rage, spit out toothpicks like a nail gun. When then is there an end to it? Was slavery worth the wage? No--I must--can't--think of it... I'll wash my picture windows instead. After the Windex and the suds the accumulated slime runs yellow and gray onto my rag like phlegm, the same sick mucous color you get from washing an ashtray-- God, I was living in an ashtray--no, I was a living ashtray. Yet when the windows were clean I was at a loss at how to reward myself. A glass of water? A walk in the park? A swim at the gym? A pitcher of warm spit? Nothing beats a cigarette. I must hold on hold out hold to hold forth hold back hold sway-- Mommy, don't let me die an ashtray. VIII There is an absence greater than absence of life there is a hollow hollower than death when the lights go off in the gunman's eyes and every man becomes a purse. There is a loss greater than loss of pleasure as when the nurse removes your pacifier. and the wailing of your deprivation goes unnoticed in the bassinet and your infant body shakes into the grief of sleep. Or later, standing at the railing of your crib you want your mother but there is no mother no aunt, no grandmother, no one to assuage the fearful darkness. Eventually you imagine Mommy saying, "Why can't you change yourself?" After such abandonment your life may be determined by oral deprivation as you seek a fix for the milk-dewed nipple you missed, for the rhythm of your sucking, the bliss of your face pressed against the warm pillow of her breast. IX There is so little poetry left I suffer its loss as much as cigarettes. It may leave a bigger emptiness. Is poetry an addiction, too? Sometimes I think so, especially when I am around poets and feel the heat of their narcissism rise like steam from a meatloaf, their endless infantile hunger to be heard, their sweet scent of self-congratulation. Too bad poets can't give themselves a fix; they have to victimize an audience. (Plato was right and wrong. He never imagined the democratization of poetry, fearing Aeschylus and Aristophanes not Angelou and Bukowski.) Forget poetry, poetry sucks. Poetry sucks donkey dicks in the dead of night. Poetry sucks the butt holes of rabid bats Poetry sucks the big Walla-Walla like a Staubsauger Poetry is a concentration camp for narcissists. Poetry is eternal competition with every poet, living or dead. Poetry causes stillborns, curdles milk and stains the altar with pig's blood. Poetry is bread in the mouth of a pigeon spreading Legionnaire's disease. Poetry is the word flu. Fuck poetry. X When asked why she didn't quit, Bette Davis replied, "Then how would I talk?" gesturing with her cigarette holder. And what if as a non-smoker I become seriously depressed and the faces of familiar cars look strange and I am frightened by doorknobs and tea kettles, when whatever spark of self I knew flies up and out the chimney into the wailing dark? Will I zero-sum it and light up again? That is one danger-- when smoking or not smoking appear equally pointless in a universe without pity and you don't care one way or the other-- in that state, which always returns, I vow to pretend to care against all evidence. The other danger is similar-- on a very good day, say your daughter's wedding or your grandson's baptism, when the joyful conviction of invulnerability whispers "You've achieved control and can have just one." When I get the urge to smoke I will remember the prophet Isaiah and how his lips were sealed by a coal from God's altar. My lips are sealed against you, Tobaccohontas. Climb up a billboard, spread your legs for a magazine. Go tempt another brave, for the god of science declares that in seven years my blackened honeycombs will wash themselves clean. In my pulmonary spring the cilia will bloom, the mucous cells rejoice because I have a choice and I choose not to smoke. Addiction ends with this. In seven years I expect Pink lungs! Pink Lungs! Pink Lungs!
Dimitris P. Kraniotis Fictitious line ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Smokes of cigarettes and mugs full of coffee, next to the fictitious line where the eddy of words leans against and nods, wounded, to my silence.
Ideals ~~~~~~ Snow-covered mountains, ancient monuments, a north wind that nods to us, a thought that flows, images imbued with hymns of history, words on signs with ideals of geometry.
Illusions ~~~~~~~~~ Noiseless wrinkles on our forehead the frontiers of history, shed oblique glances at Homer's verses. Illusions full of guilt redeem wounded whispers that became echoes in lighted caves of the fools and the innocent.
The end ~~~~~~~ The savour of fruits still remains in my mouth, but the bitterness of words demolishes the clouds and wrings the snow counting the pebbles. But you never told me why you deceived me, why with pain and injustice did you desire to say that the end always in tears is cast to flames.
Rules and visions ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Life counts the rules; the sunset, their exceptions. Rain drinks up the centuries; spring, our dreams. The eagle sees the sunrays and youth, the visions.
One-word garments ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Waves of circumflexes storms of adverbs, windmills of verbs, shells of signs of ellipsis, on the island of poems of soul, of mind, of thought one-word garments you wear to endure!
Denials ~~~~~~~ A roar of cars seals the dawn with short-cut answers, with unyielding denials that are repeated explicitly every sunset.
What I ask ~~~~~~~~~~ A ball of threads my prayers whisper frightened. Foolish I's are choked without you ever knowing what I ask.
The "dont's" and "zeros" ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The night that strangled the endless moments I had wished to live, passed by without my lighting up the candle I had longed to warm up all the dont's and zeros.
Ashes ~~~~~ The fireplace was eager to put a full stop, in the sentence where the road of my dreams stuck upon the word of happiness with sparkles of wet logs I collected from the inside of me that I dared to turn to ashes.
Maybe ~~~~~ The cloud struggled against the sand underneath the rain of "no" and "yes", forcefully treading on the rationale that obeys the impasse of "maybe".
Limits ~~~~~~ Fragments of glasses in the empty room of the inarticulate whispers, bleed our limits, fill with sores the caress of our soul.
Ernest Williamson What of the Cedar Trees ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ there was no lament in the dour Cedar trees in the corner I was upright like the lives in Katrina's droning leveling flesh but mystified by the spirit of resplendent hands holding on to future bonds with no regard for stocks in residual condonement but back to the Cedar trees these two worn 200 year old bodies showing with no regard for shame its stains its diaries of exposition for men and women to ignore and explore though I see the trees as few may see them I am no child and wonderment evades the man who evades the spores of initiation that high pitched blooming eye loving the trees but yet not knowing them at least as I say to know them
The Importance of Liquid Rainbows ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Mother used cedar-wood window sills to hang my clothes in Mr. Landall's mansion 2 miles south of Granny's Market Mr. Rogers and Mr. Milton would stand on descending concrete steps singin' YANKEE DOODLE DANDY for my brother and me and though they were pink and old I never saw any association of discontent in their words I am a black person or African American you may say yet my friends back then like the smell of sun dried clothes on the cedar-wood window sills in my room were mostly of a nice touch a good smell in my nostrils a silent smile fans of universality and to my surprise hidden from the common disdain of the incivility of 1965.
The Jazz of Old Wine ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ life is a disposition dipped in mirth divided by two annulled in blithe and despair like our first kiss in the middle of yesterday's November rain with fresh pine biting with congealed blue notes while hissing in the residue of phony lightning storms I'd love to hold your story from tears to triumph in my sheet music as I wait here on the corner of Hope Street singing a change gone come for twenty minutes inside of twenty long years and though I long for your utterance I can still stand here branded by these watery rainbows near my shoes these worn leather brown shoes.
Empty Cup ~~~~~~~~~ we met in Grothel's vineyard she, as wet wheat in the burrow below the sky left of the cabbage patches, loved me without words I've sustained millions of diluted wounds in heart and mind flown from flight to ideas of levity with wishes coated in real feelings unfelt a kiss in mind but lips dry with truth and yet in Grothel's vineyard wine gravitated away from my tongue as if I were a thief of the green with nothing to grasp, feign, or drink.
Graham Tiler I DO NOT THANK YOU ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I do not thank you For being so beautiful Or inventing ways that elude to beauty I do not thank you For making me believe In the honesty of music or the mystery of words. For tainting the lonely choices of your reward Or your capacity for truth each moment in the making. I do not thank you For the strength of isolation Or the anonymous governing of love which stands against all law in nature and brings men to their knees. I do not thank you for laying beside me in the tall hour of the night each hour consumed in lonely desperation. I do not thank you For the stones Drawn from the banks of a Black River Presented to me To mark out in time Each moment of departure
THE LAST DARK HEART OF CALLING ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ And I found at last My own dark heart Where no one comes to feast There in that place There cannot be a love to find in peace Where no ship sails No voices sing Or wings shall raise me high My angel heart Once cast aside a river now run dry Will such a song A solemn truth At once remain alone Or will the aching drift of time Trace echoes to your throne Transcending time I draw my breath And make an honest vow That this dark heart in future light Before you it would bow So can the lingering print of love Forever pray and bend Through vicious storms And swaying seas survive its bitter end I wish to call to you, dark heart To bathe and make you proud For one to raise me up in truth And trace this holy shroud For once the holy shrine of love Is placed upon the soul There are no walls or prisons built Or guards that it can hold.
MORE DREAM SINISTER (PART 1) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ So now the final silence has fallen. Unfolding, my desert landscape remains as continually distant as before with iron hands I begin the process of starvation only feeding on the silent messages that rise from an imaginary plane crash. The stranger who looks for comfort in a less terrified face reaches out to me, as if in this future moment I could be capable of salvation. The needle hits the skin and the small blood bubbles that only exist in the transient moment of impact slowly rise and fall across the network of veins, they disappear like silent skipping stones beneath a less than luxurious porcelain blanket and I become a misplaced time traveling Jesus failing to register my thoughts with the newly formed escape committee. All the trains are empty or are no longer running I foolishly try to forget your smile, in a world where no one is smiling. A man in a dark suit sits by the fountain he is reading a newspaper and smoking a cigarette he is oblivious to my existence beneath the crawling plumes of smoke from a distance the headline reads ''NO ONE IS FREE'' I buy myself a pair of blue suede shoes so that my feet at least can pretend to be Elvis I force myself just for a second into pretending to be someone else, no one recognizes me so I hide myself inside a passing taxi. I begin to view the world through a small TV screen, in this world everything is black and white. Once optimistic I now find the emotional prefix painfully tiring. I no longer wish to hear the human voice I am an actor, unrehearsed I continually forget my lines. There is nothing of interest here; no sense is too defined. The long arching spread of the summer sun in which so many find their pleasure is a dictatorial judgmental and unforgiving god, its cosmic reference points leaving tyrannical fingerprints like tiny chastisements on the crawling human ants below. Framed inside this masturbatory culture for me there is no escape but I refuse your pity or the pity of others More fragile than time our cracked glass fingers break when pressed together. Like children we have yet to learn how paralyzed our fears can make us. There is nowhere more painful than this. The world is overflowing with suicide notes and sad country songs but all the radios are broken and no one is listening. In every hotel room the ghost of a long forgotten murder remains unresolved. In Every town and city an unsolved crime waits on every corner. Everyone has a story where there can be no happy ending this is the place where we are all guilty; I withdraw and decide to hide from a world of half-truths. As night falls I begin to talk to you from the claustrophobia of an empty room. I fall into a thousand micro sleeps, in each one we are taking a car journey through the night and into the dawn. Through the early morning mist we are caught inside a momentary grain of gravitational thought, my hand slowly draws itself across the shadowy outline of your chest and your reassuring smile captures the eternal moment. Later we pass an old man he sits silent; emotionless, clearly lost he realizes that there is nowhere left to run to. His search for knowledge and for truth always futile is now finally over. Suddenly an overwhelming nausea surrounds me. My head filling itself with a never ending series of tortuous images, a flickering newsreel, its graphic depiction of frailty, the human spirit and its seemingly ceaseless capacity for cruelty, plays like a video machine endlessly and permanently stuck on repeat. This is the cinema of the soul and I refuse the price of admission. The internal struggle continues the days come and go mostly long and drawn out they mutate into bleak and nameless weeks, the weeks into a newly discovered and still problematically dysfunctional 13th month. I casually name this unrecorded or catalogued month, Tyranny. Of course it does not exist inside the real world and cannot be seen by the casual observer. It is a time-line metaphysical hybrid whose signals can only be received by the chemically dysfunctional the irrational or distant soul receiver's. As a consequence of this my skin has begun to blister, small red patches spreading across my upper body bumping into each other like long lost friends. Without warning I am transported to the 51st state of atrophy in this place ice and fire become distant cousins numbing the soul with an unswerving loyalty. I travel through an invisible time-line of the heart placing myself in a world where there are no photographs, I advertise to you my life in real-time, the slow burn at the onset of an autumn sunrise the cold lash of impenetrable winter light and I no longer wish to be here. But there is no where else to be, nowhere left to run too. I sit silent emotionless, an old man. Along the curving lines of a distant road. In the corner of my vision I catch the distraction of an approaching car, with weary eyes I look up and see a man and a woman with smiling faces, the man is gently brushing his hand along the outline of the woman's upper body as they draw nearer they with an unthinking natural and long rehearsed precision curve themselves into a sweetly stolen kiss neither of them notice me and then they are gone, lost forever along the curving lines of a distant road.
Jim Benz There is a chair ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ There is a luxury chair in this poem, an Eaves lounge chair with matching ottoman, upholstered in soft black leather over a seven-ply cherry shell and die-cast aluminum supports. No trees were felled and no ore mined to construct this chair and no hide was ever stripped from a dead cow to be fitted and sewn around the individually upholstered cushions. It will never be sat in. The chair is located in a sun-lit oak-paneled room, on a Persian rug of modern design by Qolam Hossein Jabini Khiabani of Tabriz. An aging feline, who now steps gingerly across the deep red weaves of the natural pattern, will never piss on this rug even though she has just now entered the poem. In this illusory context, she will live forever and never become incontinent or arthritic nor will the heart-broken author have to bury her by a large aspen tree growing on a hill thick with birch, beside a rustic log cabin built from unfelled trees. When she eats a young rabbit, the rabbit will not cry and there will be no blood staining the intricate silk inlay of the rug. About to sit in the leather chair, and rest a back that never aches, is the author of this poem who contemplates a meaningless violation of previously stated poetic assertions alluding to the imaginary properties of said chair. The poem, however, does not end when he sinks into the plush leather of its cushions, because the particulars of this existence reside within the poem itself and have nothing to do with the imagined properties of a luxury chair or an indulgent man. Even so, the poem ends quite suddenly.
Jenni ~~~~~ Jim calls my name from across the street while I'm cleaning the bed of my pick-up. I cross over. His breath smells whiskey sweet but its only noon. His eyes are syrup. He can't stop speaking of Jenni. Too smug to say something nice, so he says the same old shit all over again. "It was drugs or suicide, man, she just wasn’t sane." Later, I'm in my garage touching her bike, my tools are still lying on the floor. It's been two weeks since I called her number to say the bike was fixed, and nothing more. She didn't answer because she was dead, wide-eyed on the tile. This sticks in my head.
Ignis Fatuum ~~~~~~~~~~~~ I walk up the railroad tracks in the middle of the day, sometimes I walk up the railroad tracks in the middle of the day. I took a strange pill and it just won't go away. If there's a trestle I climb it because it's there, if it's a trestle, I climb it because it's there. When I go and fall it just don't matter anyway. I might fly like a bird through the sky of my wanderlust dreams, I might fly like some bird, a dead guy in the sky of my dreams. I just arch my back and look up, it could be all day it seems. Spirit is relation to the relation Nothing is serious but my will (and this is comical) in the clouds soaked by sunshine
JERRY VILHOTTI Storella: "Sticks and Mighty Stones" ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This day the guys on Mad Avenue, in The Washington Hill section of Burywater where the first long ball hitter doing it on a dead ball before the Great Babe did it with a ball full of steroids, decided they would play tackle football in "Bigwop's" backyard as the leaves on trees were turning colors; signaling that soon the World Serious would be done with and most likely the Bronx Bombers - with the most money to buy the best players around being three deep in many positions - would be in it beating most any team that had won the pennant in the senior circuit. They began throwing the football with all their might; trying to throw it way over heads so the receiver would have to retrieve the ball in the street which would make for a few laughs among the ten year old guys. They were all about the same age as if their parents scattered about the northeast had fornicated around the same time. On one throw that went way over Murphy's head that hit Mister Soupbonee's car lurking in his driveway (his name was fashioned by an Ellis Island official who could spell about the same as Grandfather Sibuono) to ricochet out onto the street. The ball was returned by an eight year old visiting relative. "Can I play too?" "You can't! You're a kike. So go fucking back where you came from!" Elephant Balls Mic Horrigan said as he snatched the ball out of Arnold's hands. "Take a walk. Gawk. You ain't one of us!" Fashi said; ready to kick the kid out of their game with his body - but for Johnny's good leg acting like a blocker. Johnny still felt like a stranger on the shore among these people who had a nasty thing to say about all nationalities - including their own - throwing words out with their boneless tongues that could break bones like: "harp", "guinea", "nigger", "polock", "kike" .... When Johnny had first come to Burywater three years before from The East Bronx his mother had sent him to Saint Anthony's to get more God in him; sending his two much older brothers to the public school; believing even The First Testament God couldn't change them from their stealing ways but the day Father Shawn (Slimy is it what the kids called him behind his back) Egan strapped him for talking in class; never trying to find out the why of it: that the first grader was telling the only American-Black in the class, Jerry "nig" Walker who would go back to the big city and eventually become a sociology professor at Bernard Baruch in lower Manhattan, what the catechism page was after he had asked Johnny. Johnny said to his mother the very night that they moved from the peel-side of town to their one family home - if she sent him to another catholic school he would renounce his religion and become a Bahai or anything else that didn't bully little kids. After their third touchdown with little Arnold scoring one of them bleeding his way to the goal line, Johnny realized for the very first time that Jews bled like he did. He was now even more determined to protect this kid - who the guys on the other team were muttering half-aloud "killer of Christ" - after their viscous tackles and kicks in the balls by running interference for him and knocking down all the whiners and screamers who would become half-men. Johnny, Arnold and "Polock" won by five touchdowns. Johnny and Arnold would never see each other again as he would take the course that another who would become Home Land Security chief when nearly the whole world hated the Divided States of America being led to a Fourth World Order by leaders who worshipped power, money and indifference. Within a few years Johnny would become hard-tongued too saying in a harsh whisper, since Richie was insisting his homer was a foul ball which Johnny denied since the shot would have won the match of wiffle ball between him and Splunky, to the older kid who had taken him and Splunky Soupbonee under his wing to play hours of baseball with them; words Johnny had heard from his mother's mouth that the kid's mother had had four husbands which in all ways was a mortal sin: "How many fathers have you had?" The look on the sixteen year old boy's face with tears streaming down was something Johnny would never forget. He promised himself he would not repeat other people's thoughts; instead, he would treat all others the way he wanted to be treated. Sometimes it worked and often it did not but that would not stop him from thinking for himself and trying anyway. 4-9-06
Lynn Strongin 1. Ambulance ~~~~~~~~~ Big black letters bright as July's lampblack at the stables but bleakened "A.m.b.u.l.a.n.c.e." slides spelled backward on the white truck over the shadow of the big Red Cross covers my body. I drive waiting for my tone 24 hours per day 7 days a week Ambulance girl It's easier to save a body than a soul: I became after years of being a phone operator, during the war. I come from Little Berm. Summer is always the Dark Night of the Soul. St John's. Rather be the one driving than the one borne in pale as a lily bedclothes strewn from the night before when fevers spiked. Life is a pair of eyes searching workmen from Folkestone sheathing a steeple on a horizon in Copenhagen. chalk-white storks are nesting in chimney pots, brick filling with early snowfall mirror-thin at dust & dawn. Many colored boxcars turn monotone silvered wood in moon. A perfect equation? Grief for grief. Paper smells of ropeburn. Life stripped of occasion, celebration when one's only son leaves a message on the answering machine: "Got married over the weekend." What is life without celebration? "Ambulance" words roll forward on white box red cross on its side spelled backwards silver deepens an Artesian well Amish hymn A New England halo spins about a mosaic of a Saint in extremity amid oranges & lace from the 16th century in Spain. 2. The valley of the shadow ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ i. Yea though I walk thru the valley of the shadow summer its glass & fevers. . . I smell the grass count the tremor. Wind's torch-roar. The valley itself lightning self-inflicted wounds washing off like earth's crust. ii. Yanking root vegetables caked with sand beets potatoes a scroll of scallions, onions. Hot days coming. The gulley is waiting to be entered wood platform for train The travellers housed in light milk-bright steam Christening gown Altos & Sopranos blend in Jubilo finest cladding. 3. Duvet ~~~~~ We cover our Pennsylvania-Dutch duvet even in August & July. If body oils mix with eiderdown, feathers could be harmed. Direct sex-instruction was not given to us as children: instead we gave each other the buzz, the skinny: we projected like a movie: what could only take place in the bluest darkroom next-in-line to heaven. 4. Shuttered from Schoolroom & Street Thread-thin towel of horse in the bathroom Hot tubs. Burgundy sweaters. Memories of cafeteria smelling of boiled milk. Moon in broad daylight: my own rocket rising tearing sheets Everything easy would be hard from now on everything hard, a song. In Dark too soon. Spiritual gains. Baroque Music Bach & Handel on the old 33 r.p.m. Early 1860's engravers translated designs of artists onto boxwood: I had Pre-Raphelite curls, my sister had black-blue oriental bangs. (Let nobody interrupt the story. . .) Quince-Quiltmaker: shuttered schoolroom & street exist in pre-memory time: I know the ecstasy Being wrapped in thread-thin towel with horse bleached as morning glory at summer's end. 5. I saw the whole world in the rearview window lit: bridges suspended old mining towns, silvered, convex tin. Light grew skinny, shrank: I was left, (like this evening) paper & pen darkening the page: Bone, blood leached The buzz, the skinny on things: air itself like lace: wheels, whorls. I continued transcribing on till cobalt became blackness then slatboards bleached wheat-white & indigo shone raw with new dawn. 6. ". . .a fine November morning, and the close soon became alive. . .East, still doing the cicerone, pointed out all the remarkable characters to Tom as they passed: Osbert, who would throw a cricket-tball from the little-side ground over the rook trees to the Doctor's wall; Gray, who had got the Balliol scholarship,. . ." (p. 139 Tom Brown's Schooldays) Specificity ~~~~~~~~~~~ i. when only nurse & heaven will do. One to turn back sheets neatly one to console you. No catchpenny dreamschool. Tom Brown's Schooldays is by an Old Boy. Chalk hills running parallel with railway: England. Cut out your own pleasure within walk or home. Dulce Domum. Oxfences. Hedgerow. Timber. Spinney. Sheep-paths run on either side like ruled lines. ii. Tom took rook's nests. That's the thing. What a lottery! Fate. Old heads on young shoulders. The depth of my summer doldrums lift with light on chalk cliffs of England. Nurse your pleasant moments as you will. Your whitewashed bed. Dreams of the shoeblack boy. Necessity, when Ambulance girl and Valley of the Shadow dray to sable end.


Melanie Simms


    (for Chris)

Clouds become circus clowns
And airplanes, and parades of
Pink tigers and blue elephants.

I watch as rabbits emerge out of magic hats,
And find the edges of Oz,
Where hearts beat to the rhythm
Of a song about rainbows.

This morning the sky is particularly bright
And free of storms,
Only my thunderous applause
Echoes as I lie here.

For a moment I see a crimson throne
Sun-streaked and dazzling,
As though inviting me to sit.

Poetic Psalm
I am the poet laureate
My laurel is a reigning voice
For all humanity,
Demanding delivery
Knowing that soon
"the cock will crow"
And deceptions will be
Unveiled behind the mask
Of the forgotten one.

I am the broken heart,
Revealed by
My instrument beats
Like the rhythm of the
Eternal song,
Sung by the muses,
Sources of pain and of fresh
Revelations...like tulips,
Its fragrance inhaled on the first
New morning if your life; its
Heaven-scent breeze of our delicate
Lives entrusted
By the soul of the serious,
The meaning of
Revealed, its
Vibrant, its
Existence a
Reality that never ends...traveling beyond the
Expression of the last vowel of your lungs' breath,
Toxic Truth, exhaled, its remainder
The end.

Not on this earth,
Death the new beginning
Of the new alphabet.

Good Fortune ~~~~~~~~~~~~ "You prompt interesting discussions" (a fortune cookie from Chinese Garden, Newport, PA) Breaking the delicate sweet bread of life My future is ordained and secured. After a string of Karaoke boyfriends, A cookie from Chuck's Chinese diner on 4th Street says, "You will soon meet the man you will marry." I wave the slip of gleaming white paper Like a flag of rescue or surrender, I never want to leave this table, the table Of my good fortune. The waiter arrives, and asks in his Chinese-New York accent, "More tea, Lady?" He pours, and the tea flows with the scent Of orange blossoms and heaven, He pours another cup, and then another. Permeated by the aroma of Chinese Duck And Sweet and Sour chicken, I finally decide to leave. The waiter returns to clear my table, smiles and says, "I bring you gift, Lady." He hands me a box of Chinese Fortune Cookies, "For you, Lady. One for each day. Please, my gift to you." I accept it graciously, tip him generously, and drive away. At home the ticking clock Reminds me how quickly time is passing, And I open a cookie. To my surprise it says, "You will soon meet the man you will marry." I open another and another and each one says, "You will soon meet the man you will marry."
The Daes-Eage ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ("He loves me, he loves me not") Mama, he loves me NOT; That's what the Daes-Eage says, I watched as the last White petal was captured By the summer wind, And fell To the grass below The beautiful "daes-eage" Betraying our love in its last final hour. "He loves me NOT," it whispers. Oh cruel Chrysanthemum, To utter such a horrible Refute! Shall I call upon Belides? She knows too well The heart of camouflage. Crafty nymph, Running from adamant Vertemus, In blossoms of disguise, If I could, I too would offer To hide her, if in exchange She could turn herself for me Into one white loyal daisy That whispers On each fallen petal, "He loves me."
Colors ~~~~~~ (for Chris) You color Purple Wolves and polka-dotted egrets, And watch them travel Under pink satin stars. You are young, It doesn't matter What color the trees are. If I could, I would borrow those magical colors of yours, And shade my world, White-out this 30 year mortgage, Its interest defying gravity, And scribble over worries with A happy lemon-yellow. And I would tell you That you are right, Son, Nothing really matters But happy endings and These big bright colors of life. A man wearing a grey tie with a black suitcase Filled with papers that promise to "Blow my house down," Knocks at my door. When he arrives, my son says, "Mommy, take my crayon." I try to tell him it's not enough, But he doesn't listen, only nods And draws me a picture Of a brick house and a skinny toothless wolf; "See Mommy, he can't hurt you."


  All poems copyrighted by their respective authors. Any reproduction of
  these poems, without the express written permission of the authors, is

  YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts - Copyright (c) 1993 - 2006 by 
  Klaus J. Gerken.

  The official version of this magazine is available on Ygdrasil's 
  World-Wide Web site http://users.synapse.net/~kgerken.  No other 
  version shall be deemed "authorized" unless downloaded from there. 
  Distribution is allowed and encouraged as long as the issue is unchanged.


    * Klaus Gerken, Chief Editor - for general messages and ASCII text
    submissions: kgerken@synapse.net

    Or mailed with a self addressed stamped envelope, to: